Eric, Charleston, SC USA asks:
Please forgive this hyper-technical question before you
even decide how you want to answer it, or if you want to answer it.
Having learned enough about income tax to make me glad I'm not an
accountant (but thankful enough to know everyone needs one...or a
thorough understanding of tax), I noticed an overlap with the flagging
of vessels, tax liabilities (personal and property), and your
domicile. I would think the "normal" thing to do would be to flag the
vessel in a tax (or
otherwise) friendly place and register your domicile in a no income
What I don't know about is how the domicile changes with your time on
the boat. I've read wikipedia enough to be a message board expert on
maritime law, which makes me fluent in the most popular terms, but
categorically lacking in the more substantive aspects.
How, exactly, are long-term cruisers (wow, that sounds a bit like a
70's disco leftover, or my uncle) treated for purposes of domicile
when you are living aboard a foreign-flagged vessel? In foreign
waters? Are there special filings that you (your accountant, your
attorney, etc.) have to do to maintain your domicile status in the state you choose?
I would appreciate any explanations about domicile concerns when
cruising for the long haul. Thank you for your time, and thank you
for sharing your experiences. I've begun filing the articles I read
just as you advised.
Scott Flanders from Egret responds:
Eric, you can wear yourself out with 'what if's'. My advise to you is find a friendly address, throw off the dock lines and sail into the sunset. None of us out here worry about these things. We pay our taxes like everyone else and enjoy the rest of our time.